Oaxaca Nightlife: 7 Of The Best Bars In The City

Oaxaca Nightlife

While Oaxaca nightlife may not be quite up there with the infamous Tijuana scene or the party hotspot of Cancun, it does bring its own charm to after dark entertainment that can’t be missed.

The star of Oaxaca nights out has to be mezcal. If you haven’t heard of this agave-based spirit, trust us, you will have by the time you leave. There are bundles of bars pretty much dedicated to this popular Mexican tipple. From live rock music, sizzling salsa dancing and all the beers and cocktails you could need to see you through till the wee hours, there’s a little something for everyone.

So, join us as we run through the best places to soak up the Oaxaca nightlife. We’ll bring you to the nightlife hub, the Zocalo, as well as offering up a few off the beaten track options where you can feel one with the locals.


Man pouring cocktail
Photo by Envato Elements

One of the more popular spots in the Oaxaca nightlife scene, Txalaparta is the place to be for your night on the town. Located just five minutes from the Zocalo, it is the perfect spot to land in after a bit of bar hopping. DJ sets bring ample opportunity to break out your best dance moves to all sounds Latin, reggae, hip hop and more.

And the venue is uber cool too. Think wild west tavern mixed with a collector’s paradise – look out for the rusty old bike hanging on the wall. There are also many areas to choose from, whether you opt for the rooftop or choose to hide away in one of the several nooks and crannies.

Offering live music most nights, hookah spots, and some quality nachos and craft beers, it’s no surprise this one is a big draw for the 20s – 30s crowd. And open till 3am, you can let the good times roll well into the night.

Sabina Sabe

Sabina Sabe
Photo by Sabina Sabe

Did someone say cocktails? Well, Sabina Sabe can provide. This is most definitely one of the best spots in the city for sipping down a few multicolored refreshments.

Of course, like many Oaxaca bars, the M word isn’t far away. Sabina Sabe specializes in exciting mezcal based blends, from cucumber to Mexican pepperleaf. A little more elegant and pricier than some of the others but one taste of the offerings and you’ll appreciate why. You can also sample tasty delicacies, such as ceviche and vegan friendly roasted cauliflower. Or craving a grasshopper taco? It’s on the menu too.

Once you take a seat amongst the alternating bright green and exposed brick walls, the choice is yours. You can go cocktail crazy and make a real night of it or simply enjoy a tasty meal with friends.

In Situ

In Situ
Photo by In Situ

If you thought Sabina Sabe was mezcal heaven, this one takes it to another level. Think library but with mezcal bottles instead of books. Yep, for anyone who has taken a liking to Oaxaca’s drink of choice, this is the place to go. Rows upon rows of choice awaits you here.

A favorite amongst locals and tourists, some of the mezcals here come from the rarest of agave plants. With over 150 to choose from, even seasoned mezcal drinkers can find something new here. The owner, Ulises Torrentera, is an author of several mezcal books and is more than happy to share his knowledge of this traditional indulgence over tastings. He can also recommend a bottle or two to take home for that special someone. But don’t worry, if you’re not a fan of this flavorful spirit, there are a few beers and cocktails to choose from also.

Located a little outside of the main tourist zone, it’s a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle, whilst still making the most of Oaxaca nightlife.

La Tentacion

DJ on the decks
Photo by Envato Elements

With things only starting to heat up past midnight, La Tentacion is Oaxaca nightlife at its best. It is a popular go to amongst locals looking for a bit of salsa dancing in a relaxed, informal setting.

Regular bands take to the balcony to treat the below revelers to a selection of some of the finest Latin beats. But don’t fear, if your moves aren’t quite worthy of hitting the dance floor, there are several seating areas scattered around it.

As well as serving up an extensive list of drinks, there is also a variety of light snacks and appetizers to enjoy if you’re feeling a little peckish. And be sure to take advantage of the plentiful promotions on offer for a cheaper night.

While there’s something going on every night here, Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest. So, bring your best moves, join the crowds on the dancefloor and party the night away.

Los Amantes

Man preparing cocktail
Photo by Envato Elements

If you want your Oaxaca nightlife experience to have a dash of quirkiness head on over to Los Amantes. Situated around 10 minutes from the Zocalo, this small, cozy bar features shelves filled to the brim with funky knickknacks and mounds of mezcal paraphernalia.

Yep, this is another one dedicated to the ever-popular mezcal. Let the friendly bar staff guide you through a selection of some of the best varieties on offer. And be sure to try a few of the homemade ones.

But be warned, when we say cozy, we mean it. This hole in the wall joint is the type of place where no one can go unnoticed. Although if you’re looking for somewhere to sample great mezcal in an authentic setting, this would most definitely be it.

And to keep the good times rolling, you may want to wander across the street to the Los Amantes Hotel, where you can sip cocktails at the rooftop bar with spectacular views of the city.

Bar Ilegal

Bar Ilegal
Photo by Bar Ilegal

Sometimes it’s just all about that low key atmosphere. At Bar Ilegal you are treated to some of the cheapest beers in town while you rock out to local live music.

If you’re after somewhere a little more rough around the edges, this one is a must. Think dive bar atmosphere and tattooed clientele. And the drinks menu goes well beyond mezcal here. You’ll find all the bar favorites, from rum to whisky, as well as a vast selection of classic pub grub.

While much of Oaxaca nightlife doesn’t extend past the midnight mark, this one is open till 2am. So, you’ll have more than enough time to rock on here.

El Barracuda

man pouring shots
Photo by Envato Elements

An evening of live rock music, burgers and beers await you at El Barracuda. And the setting is just as cool as what’s on offer, with walls donning portraits of rock and roll greats, from Kurt Cobain to the Beatles.

If you’re into a bit of indie, ska, and rock music, this is the place for you. Some of the best local bands frequent this venue, treating you to a night of tunes to mosh out to. This small, intimate bar also offers a wide range of drinks and food. And with lots of promotions on offer, your money can go a long way here.

A great atmosphere, central location and cheap drinks are what make El Barracuda a favorite in the Oaxaca nightlife scene.

Does Oaxaca have good nightlife?

If you’re looking for multi-level clubs and full-on party central, Oaxaca will probably not be the best choice. But if you’re after somewhere where you can let your hair down, have some drinks and listen to live music then Oaxaca’s nightlife will not disappoint.

Where in Oaxaca is the nightlife?

Much of the action centers around the Zocalo. This main square, situated in downtown Oaxaca is considered the heart of the city. Home to several bars and restaurants, as well as various street musicians, it is definitely a go to destination for a night on the town. But be sure to explore beyond this main hub for plenty more mezcalarias and local haunts.

Is Oaxaca safe at night?

Yes, Oaxaca is one of the safest cities in the country. With many other areas harboring high crime rates, Oaxaca’s rich culture and welcoming people keeps it relatively safe from much of the country’s troubles. Of course, that’s not to say no crime happens here. So, like most places, you should always remain cautious on nights out.

Want to find out where Mexico’s best nightlife resides? Find out here.


For more than 11 years, Joe has worked as a freelance travel writer. His writing and explorations have brought him to various locations, including the colonial towns of Mexico, the bustling chowks of Mumbai, and the majestic Southern Alps of New Zealand. When he's not crafting his next epic blog post on the top Greek islands or French ski resorts, he can often be found engaging in his top two hobbies of surfing and hiking.

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